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Roseland Hospital Cuts Staff, Salaries To Keep Doors Open

CHICAGO (STMW) -- As it waits to hear if it'll receive a $7 million bailout to stay open, Roseland Community Hospital laid off almost 70 employees, and other hospital employees will take a pay cut.

The 68 people who were eliminated this week included lab and radiology clerks, secretaries, emergency room nurses and managers, Roseland hospital staff said.

An additional 47 employees will take one unpaid furlough day per every two-week pay period.

Cuts also could include the Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit, which provides mental-health services, from 28 beds to 10.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has led a group of community leaders requesting that the state provide an infusion of $7 million to keep Roseland Community Hospital running without dramatic cuts to patient care.

He noted that Roseland is in an area with few hospitals. One of the closest hospitals in Chicago is Advocate Trinity Hospital, which is about six miles away.

"Last week, three guys were shot. . . . They went to Roseland," Jackson said. "They patched them up and stopped the bleeding and all that. Then got them to Christ. If they had not stopped to Roseland, they would have died."

Jackson also noted that in 2011, Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation to make the hospital a medical district, modeled after the Near West Side's medical district comprising Rush University Medical Center, the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center and Stroger Hospital.

A Quinn spokeswoman said the governor is concerned about Roseland's financial viability.

"That's why he immediately directed senior staff to meet with hospital executives and community stakeholders several weeks ago to work on a way that the city, state and federal government can partner to help Roseland adapt to the changing health landscape," Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. "That work is still going on."

All the layoffs, pay cuts and service reductions are expected to save more than $700,000 a month, hospital staff said.

The Far South Side safety-net hospital owes about $7 million to $8 million in outstanding bills older than 90 days that it must pay, or it will have to significantly reduce services. Hospital executives say Roseland hasn't been able to generate enough cash flow to pay its expenses because it serves a primarily poor population that often doesn't have any health coverage, including Medicaid.

A source, meanwhile, said the hospital was in this position because they have some serious financial mismanagement.

But Dian Powell, president and chief executive officer of RCH, said there was no truth in that, citing that in 18 months, Roseland had reduced a $9 million deficit to $4 million even though its patient population hadn't changed.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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